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LDPE (low-density polyethylene) is one of the most used plastic around the world for packaging, wrapping and many others. Topographic Shoe Last collaborated with MacPac (New Zealand outdoor brand) retail store located in Melbourne CBD.

 

I believe the most sustainable product is a product with longer usability and high market value which shoe last met up with the criteria.

[Latin]  document giving warning of something, or giving a warning to someone; 

Last from Last .

LDPE, low-density Polyurethane is widely used in various fields of industry. The most amount of LDPE is being used as plastic bags, vinyl and many different wrapping products for packaging, bags, and more. The majority of LDPE products have very short End of Use (EOU) and End of Life(EOL) stage as its been manufactured and designed to not be used multiple times.

Low-density Poly Ueretheune.

(LDPE)

LDPE is used for plastic bags of all sorts; shopping bags, packaging, rubbish bags and more, it’s one of the most popular materials used as it is easy to manufacture, cheap and very light. But this changes if it’s collected to million, billion even up to trillion plastic bags.

 

The task for being sustainable would be finding the way to create a product or system that could extend the ‘use’ phase longer for the ultimate sustainable product within high market value point and useful product that consumer would extend ‘use’ phase longer than expected time.

LDPE Usage.

1.6 Billion 

LDPE per year

3.92 Billion 

LDPE per year

1 Trillion 

LDPE per year

Potential opportunity.

Shoe last is a very substantial product from traditional footwear to sporting footwear. The shoe last is made from 1kg-1.5kg of HDPE (High-Density Polyurethane), creating a longevity life cycle from the durability that material is bringing with high market price as it almost lasts forever.

 

The shoe last is made with a complicated process. Through utilising a special CNC machine shoe last created, which could take over 2 hours and only creates 2 pairs at a time. I have discovered an opportunity to change the process to injection/compression moulding for a faster cycle of the manufacturing process for mass production.

Current manufacturing methods.

According to the data, Last is modeled using CAD program.

Using a specific CNC machine, a block of HDPE is carved out as shoe last form.

CNC machine provides a rough cut of the last. the specialist then glaze the surfaces to smooth out the form.

Additional surfaces then take it to the sanding machines for accurate surfacing.

Finished last go through measuring volumes and surfaces for accurate examination.

Finished last ships to the footwear factories around the globe.

Initial idea.

The user I targeted was all Taekwondo athletes. As a previous high school Taekwondo player, I have chosen the user for this project in developing athletic footwear. Taekwondo is one of the sports that doesn’t require footwear while requiring a lot of other protective gears. But when they are not competing in a competition, all athletes are wearing Taekwondo footwear all time; for running, training involving sparring and even out of court, relaxing. It covers most of their time but there is a lack of development in Taekwondo footwear. 

Revision.

The user I targeted was all Taekwondo athletes. As a previous high school Taekwondo player, I have chosen the user for this project in developing athletic footwear. Taekwondo is one of the sports that doesn’t require footwear while requiring a lot of other protective gears. But when they are not competing in a competition, all athletes are wearing Taekwondo footwear all time; for running, training involving sparring and even out of court, relaxing. It covers most of their time but there is a lack of development in Taekwondo footwear. 

Design development.

University technical team had 3mm mild steel ready with the powerful laser cutter that could cut steel. After creating a mould using the CAD program, I use a plugin called ‘Slicer’ to slice the model with 3mm thickness, then export with dxf file for a technician to import into the laser cutter. Total of 28 layers of steel per mould.

 

LDPE started to melt in between 100-130 degrees, to heat up the mould it takes 30 mins inside the oven that is heated up to 135 degrees. LDPE doesn’t create any toxic gases in the melting phase, it starts to create toxic gases as it starts to burn. It was difficult to achieve to inject full-size plastic bags through a small hole. I melted a small portion of plastic bags using a heat gun before placing the mould in the oven to save time.

Prototyping method.

Making process .

Finishing process .

Place LDPE inside the mould.

Using a heat gun, melt more to place more LDPE.

Close all the layers and place them together. Then place the mould into the oven at 120-130 degrees

As LDPE starts to melt, try to put more in.

Cool down the mould.

Slowly de-attach the moulds

Smooth out the surfaces by heating.

Smooth out the surfaces by sanding.

Last from Last.

“Ultimate sustainability is not just making a product out of sustainable material, it's making a product that lasts long too.”

For :

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

(RMIT) 

Plastic Fantastic

Supervisor :

Dr Juliette Anich  

Dr Liam Fennessy

Duration :

16.07.2018 - 

15.11.2018

Tools :

Problem analysis.

Potential opportunity analysis.

Design development - Sketching, Mockups, Rapid prototyping

Prototyping - Fusion 360, Slice (plugin), Laser cutting, Inject moulding

© 2023 by bluugu, Sung Myeong (Lucius) Ha